A design study was conducted to test the AM fiber backbone concept. A "typical" cable system was chosen in order to compare a fiber design to a conventional tree-and-branch architecture. Fiber's impact on end-of-line performance was investigated, and it was found that while it was possible to improve signal quality using fiber, a number of tradeoffs were involved, and the improvement was limited by distortions. A number of design and installation issues were considered, including amplifier reversal, design procedures and the location of splice points. While each system is unique, fiber designs were generally found to be more complex, and required more extensive planning for future growth. The effect of fiber systems on reliability was also studied. Fiber was determined to have little positive impact on system reliability, but it did equalize subscriber reliability across the system.